If you are a mom who works (I’m talking WFH, part-time, momprenuer, Full-time corporate, or anything in between) then you know we all wish there was something we could do to make life easier!
The good news is there are some things that we can do to overcome the overcommitted mom syndrome we all have the tendency to lean into and become a much calmer mom. Keep reading for my tips on making life easier as a working mom.
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How can I make life easier as a working mom?
Being a working mom with children who still depend on me (and my husband) for literally everything, has typically meant I was living sleep time to sleep time. And then I am cramming so much stuff into those few moments so that I can also sleep.
It’s exhausting. What I am learning is that if I take the small sacrifice to focus on a few things I may not always want to (the hacks below) then I find that other things seem to fall into place a bit more easily. Motherhood is an awesome experience. Juggling between work and parenting can feel impossible. But I am here to tell you, it is absolutely NOT. Here are a few hacks that moms can apply to their daily routine to make life easier.
1. Learn to say “no”
Do you often feel bad about turning down requests from your kids, hubby, friends or community at large? Well the first step in making life easier is to start to say ‘no’! Having healthy boundaries normally means the difference between you feeling bad for potentially disappointing someone and feeling bad because you have LOST YOU MIND on someone because you said yes, instead of taking a rest.
But I get it. It takes a complete overhaul of the mind to say no and not feel awful about it.
Since different families operate under different structures, explaining to someone why you would rather not attend a meeting, spend on a certain item or even enroll your kids into some program will often not make sense. It is better to say no and leave it at that.
2. Create meals out of your pantry
Many working moms are tired by the time they get home from work. Even the ones who love cooking would rather find an easy fix for dinner than bring out their recipe books for a spectacular meal. When you get to the kitchen to fix dinner, look at what you already have and work with that. That means you will be saving time preparing what you already have instead of having to go out again for shopping.
Building a meal out of the pantry needs prior consideration of food items to have in the house. This means that you should regularly stock on easy-to-prepare foods. Things I keep on hand include:
- chicken breast
- tuna cans
- ground turkey
- Steamable frozen vegetables
This may not create the fanciest of meals. But it will be well rounded. Season a meat, throw it in the oven, make a cup or two of rice (GET A RICE COOKER OR INSTAPOT) Microwave veggies. And you have a meal in less than 30 minutes.
3. Use a planner
If you are a regular on the blog, you know that my belief is a planner is like the map your need to navigate a vast sea. Depending on how many days a week you work, this plan could include family activities for up to a month or even a year. Important dates such as birthdays, anniversaries need to be planned for. So should visits to relatives and friends as well as vacations.
Having a planner also helps you with those pesky boundaries we talked about earlier. Let me show you how.
So, I plan EVERYTHING! That means my planner always looks SUPER busy, because, the way mom brain is set-up, if I don’t write it down, it doesn’t exist. Now let’s say, someone asks you to do something.
Well if “downtime” or “meal prepping time” is on your planner. You have something to do! And I get it, things happen, but we are working on simplifying and making our lives easier. So Sacrifices will happen.
Bonus points if you make planning a family thing, that way you as the mama don’t have to be in charge of everyone else’s schedule.
4. Use a to-do list
This is important in planning the day. While there will always be work for moms to do when they are home, a to-do list gives you an easy way to gauge what all you need to do and what you want to do on a particular day.
This allows you to prioritize. Using a to-do list takes time to adjust to this working style but with time, you will realize that even rest time finds time into the daily schedule.
Even if an emergency comes up and you get to the end of the day without clearing your list, NO FEAR. Simply move the unfinished tasks to the following day or delegate them to someone you can trust.
5. Create a morning routine
Mornings with kids is spicy at best. With wake-ups, preparations for you and the children as well as breakfast, mornings are a blur. One way to make life easier and morning calmer is to have a morning routine. For most women, the morning routine comprises of activities we have been doing from way back when we were single and without kids. It is important to look at each and identify areas where you can save time.
Creating a morning routine can be ridiculously simple. Just list the things you have to do in the morning, cull it and make sure they are things that HAVE to be done. Add something that brings you peace, and then determine the wake up time you need to have to accomplish. You may find, you don’t actually need to be awake that much earlier!
6. Prepare the day the night before
Next on our list of hacks to make life easier is nighttime preparation. Effective time management means knowing what needs to be done and planning ahead. If you will be attending an early morning meeting at the office for instance, it means that you will be leaving the house earlier than usual. Pick out your preferred outfit and iron it if need be.
To save time in the morning, it is important to do some activities from your morning routine before you retire to bed. It is a good idea to perform some of these tasks as you are making dinner in the evening.
7. Minimize your wardrobe
The fewer clothes you have to wear, the less laundry you have to wash, fold and find storage for. One of the most demanding tasks for mothers is keeping their homes neat but this can be achieved by reducing the clutter in your home.
Honestly, most working mothers have closet-full of clothes they do not wear. From pieces they wore before they conceived to some they would never wear again unless they find themselves expectant again. Some women also have clothes from some jobs they did when their schedules were less busy.
Is it so hard to minimize your wardrobe? Just get rid of everything you have not worn for the last one year.
8. Adjust your skincare/beauty routine
Being a mother does not mean sacrificing your appearance. In fact, you need to look better because you have little humans looking up to you for examples. With kids waiting on you to help them with homework, help them to brush their teeth and make dinner for them, your weekly salon trip simply doesn’t always fit in.
Instead, you now may have to do your hair more often from the house and treat your own skin. Ask your stylist and beautician for a simple routine that you can use to manage your appearance then book appointments for weekends or on a self-care day and get the spa treatment.
9. Give your kids age-appropriate chores
Keeping the house clean and presentable is the responsibility of every member of the family. As soon as your kids are old enough to help with chores, allocate them duties. The little ones can help with clearing their play area of toys after play while the older ones can be responsible for clearing dishes from the table after meals.
Consistently engage them in chores to keep the house clean at least modestly. Some parents offer allowances or treats to those kids that do chore diligently and thoroughly.
10. Give your husband some of the mental load
While the kids look up to you to accomplish some of the major tasks around the house, this family is not just yours alone. Offload some of the mental demands of the home on him. Paying the bills, following up on school issues, attending sporting events and taking the car for service are tasks you could leave to him.
Getting into a partnership with your spouse as far as family affairs are concerned is not only great for making your life easier but also to tighten the bond in your marriage.
11. Let go of control
Being a mom does not mean punishing yourself by taking the load of parenting all on your back. It is alright to hire transport for your kids to and from school. There is also no harm in taking your kids to day care just so that you can have some quiet time in the house to work or to take a nap.
Your children know that you love them so do not struggle to be in control of everything just to prove it to them.
12. Consider ordering groceries
Have you ever thought about outsourcing some aspects of your life? You might not have anyone in mind to babysit your kids or drop them off to school but more and more grocery stores are offering online shopping and delivery. Why not do what you feel you have to then order for groceries to be delivered at your doorstep?
With the internet and social media, all your grocery needs can be met; from fresh milk, vegetables and even overseas imports!
This life simplifying hack is one that I started after I gave birth to my daughter, but let me tell you it has made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in my sanity. Now, my self-care time can be spent on things I WANT to do and not things I have to do like grocery shopping.
13. Put things back when you are done with them
Another way to make your life easier is a pretty self-explanatory one, but something we are all guilty of NOT doing. The easiest way to keep your house organized is to return items to their designated spot after you are done using them.
A practical example of this is utensils; you might have removed various items from their racks to prepare a certain meal, washed them but failed to place them back. In time, your kitchen will look disorganized. Simply putting things back where you find them will not only help you to feel accomplished, but it will also make clean-up easier in the long run. DOUBLE WIN!
14. Focus on one thing at a time
Time is a big issue for working moms. This makes many of us fall for the trap that we can multitask to accomplish more. Now while we probably can have our hands in many things at the same time. How productive are we really being? So here is our next making life easier hack – time blocking.
If you have a to-do list, allocate each task a duration of time. All through the day, you will work with a timer at hand. This way, a task receives your full attention and you deliberately block distractions such as social media and unnecessary phone calls.
Focused time is quite fun and the end is an accomplished to-do list by a working mom who did not have to multitask.
15. Do not impulse shop
The worst part about buying things out of budget is that you always go on to regret later. You might realize that you bought something you actually do not need or that you have poked a hole into your budget which will take time to mend.
Many working moms fall victim to impulse buying because they enter the Target when they are.. Well really anytime we enter Target. Target is a black hole and you should enter at your own risk.
This is where shopping delivery systems can be a huge help!! Or just shop with a list. Or Avoid Target…
Keeping a journal is not only therapeutic but it helps you to keep a record of your accomplishments. By writing down your achievements and failures, you get better at planning and accepting setbacks as part of life.
17. Create a calming nighttime routine
A night time routine is as important as a morning routine. Think of all the activities you must do before you sleep. While this is personal and depends on beliefs, culture and habits, a night time routine should focus on you. Basically, include a general cleansing of your body, spiritual/intellectual enlightenment and a plan for the next day. If you are going to be making sausages for breakfast come morning for instance, transferring them from the freezer to the refrigerator should feature in your routine.
Life made easier
No two days are the same for a working mom. Some days call for more attention to work while others are entirely occupied by family issues. It is going to take a huge deal of trial and error to achieve a comfortable balance – If this appears to take too long, allow more time for adjustment.
For a long time, working mothers have been encouraged to leave work in the office and family matters at home; f it comes easy for you, well and good. The majority have to learn the perfect weave between both worlds given that they are both significant pillars of life. Being open to your colleagues about how your schedule with your children is enhances tolerance. You can rally support from family members as well by keeping them informed about the demands of your work.